This is a rush transcript from "The Story," November 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Across the country tonight, families and friends are gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving, it's a time, of course, to eat turkey, have some pumpkin pie, and to count our blessings. But, you know, it can also sometimes be a tricky time, right? Around that dinner table when the conversations turn to certain controversial events.
So, tonight, we're going to take a look at some of those, some of the stories that have kind of become fault lines at the dinner table near you in our own round table of sorts. Welcome to THE STORY of Thanksgiving, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum.
So, 2017, has in many ways been a year like no other, right? President Trump took office in January, much to delight of his fans and to the consternation of his critics. In fact, a new study finds that politics really are impacting our gatherings. In some cases, they cut celebrations short. Last year, a poll was done -- Republican voters, apparently, were more likely to bail on their Democratic families then vice versa. So, are we going to see more of this same this year?
We have put together a bipartisan audience who debate some of this year's hottest topics so that you don't have to or to get your conversations ready, right? Including social justice is on the menu tonight, we're also going to talk about gun rights, sexual harassment -- one of the hottest topics of right now -- and, of course, the tax cut, and who will really get them? An issue that the president repeatedly pushed prior to his inauguration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On taxes, I'm going to give a massive tax cut to every worker and small businesses in this country. Everyone's taxes, we want to go down. And we will massively cut taxes for the middle-class, the forgotten people. The forgotten men and women of this country who built our country. We will massively lower taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Massively lower taxes. So now, tax reform could become a reality in just a matter of weeks. So, will you get what you were promised? Let's try to kick it around the table. So, raise your hands if you think that you are going to get a tax cut. Just a couple, really? So, you guys are convinced that with this plan, you are not actually going to get a tax cut? Who wants to tell me about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Trump is coming to this with good spirits, however, the bipartisan bickering is going to prevent him from getting the tax reform passed. He's looking at the Reagan-era tax cuts, and I think it would be phenomenal for us as a society. But when we look at high tax states such as New York and New Jersey, you have Republican congressman that are voting against it. And I think that's going to lead to the demise of this bill moving forward.
ROCKO LIMITONE, COMMERCIAL SALES AND FINANCE MANAGER: Well, you're right to a certain sense. The whole hitch is the SALT issues for New York and New Jersey. I disagree with that aspect of the tax bill, but every other aspect of it lowers our taxes. For instance, you don't pay taxes on the first $24,000. That's huge all across the country. So, yes, will there be submissions with the tax deduction on home mortgage interest? Yes, but I think the other cuts are going to more than going to make up for that. I'm hoping, again, being a New Yorker, I'm kind of conflicted.
MACCALLUM: Yes, certainly, in some parts of the country, the state and local tax deduction is a huge issue. And we know from talking to members of Congress in California, New York, that they're going to probably vote against this. So, will it pass and how do you think it's going to impact you?
JACKIE CORNELL, NEW JERSEY POLICY PERSPECTIVE: My name is Jackie Cornell with New Jersey Policy Perspective. And I think the thing to remember is that taxes and budgets are moral documents as well as physical documents. And this bill does things like, you know, tax graduate students who were -- who are trying to get masters degrees. It also repeals the Affordable Care Act mandate, which, you know, we've seen over the past nine months that people like the ACA. We had overwhelming support for it. So, it's interesting to see these issues that if you were to ask someone how you feel about people going and getting an education or having health care, those are pretty evergreen and people support them.
MACCALLUM: But here's the problem with that, right? A moral document, you say, right? So, some people feel that it's immoral to have $20 trillion in debt, and some people feel that their tax dollars, when they get sent to Washington are being wasted. So, for them, they find, perhaps, a different kind of immorality in the way that we pay taxes on the way the money is spent. Joe, you want to jump in?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, what's moral about me paying $17,000 in property taxes for a third of an acre of land? It's crazy. You know --
MACCALLUM: What do you say to those who say move? You should go somewhere else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I said, well, I needed a job, you know.
MACCALLUM: I hear you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to work somewhere. You know, this is where the jobs are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I've got say, stay where we are; we have a family. And why should I have to move? You know, I mean, like, you know, we do the best we can.
MACCALLUM: So, what do you say to those who argue? Well, you need to talk to your state and local legislators? And they've been charging too high -- you know, the tax rates are too high in those areas, and that's not the federal government's fault, it's the people who elected your local official.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we elect our local official; we're all responsible for that. But at the same time, if we want to raise the economy -- look, if it's truly about punishing people who voted one way or the other. The idea is to put more people back -- more money back in the hands of the private sector. That's what raises the whole country. So, if you give me more money or everyone else here, we can make good decisions based on the money we have. We'll make right investments and we'll raise the whole economy. There is nothing to do with --
MACCALLUM: Let me pose another question to all of you. Is it OK that 70 percent of the tax burden is paid by only 10 percent of the country?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's immoral.
ANTHONY COLANDRO, OWNER, GUN RANGE: No it's not. Anthony Colandro, I own a gun range, and I live in New Jersey, and we just elected governor free stuff, as our governor for the states.
COLANDRO: So, it's not.
MACCALLUM: He's referring to Phil Murphy the new Governor of New Jersey.
COLANDRO: Yes, yes.
MACCALLUM: Go ahead.
COLADRO: The burden should not be on such a small percentage of people. The problem is, in our country now, the takers are outnumbering the makers. And what gerrymandering and redistricting, were doomed to socialism.
KRISTEN HALBER, GRADUATE STUDENT: I would have to disagree. I'm sitting as Kristen Halber as a graduate student, and what I'm hearing is that I don't even care that you -- that I get less tax with $24,000 because my income has apparently tripled just from getting an education. And you say that the takers are getting to run the country? All I see that, if someone goes to school and they can actually afford it and pay fully by themselves, they get to take that deduction. And because I already started off behind as in for a person, now I'm feeling the burden of these tax and pain for these tax cuts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I have to disagree with that to a degree. Because what she's talking about is the graduate students is being taxed, so that's one issue. But, you know, I'm a Republican district leader in Harlem, and if you at what the average income is in our neighborhoods inside in of inner cities, one, we have people being able to see more coming home at the end of the day on their checks.
We have an opportunity right now with this tax to at least unwind portions of the ACA which was round into, I think, a tremendous amount of legislation which it shouldn't have been. And then, the question really becomes: what kind of decisions can you make? I mean, in terms of health care for the constituents in my district, the simple fact that an executive order was signed that I can buy health care in another state, that moves us away from a single, you know, a single person having to pay about $800 a month in health care insurance here to may be paying $400 a month in using that Pennsylvania health care -- that makes a lot of difference to people for counting nickels and dimes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But 80 percent of New Yorkers and 80 percent of the country are receiving subsidies to cover their health care. So, yes, there's a small majority of folks who are paying a higher amount, I'm one of them. I'm covered by an ACA plan, and I pay, you know, significantly for it. But for the large majority of people that are covered because of the ACA, they're getting support to pay for those monthly --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to have to strongly disagree with that. Because, there's, there's -- every single small business owner in America, every single start up in America, every single company that's under 1,000 people in America is dealing with some very significant health care burdens in terms of cost. In addition to which, you've had major insurers pull out of marketplaces across the United States continually driving up costs. The whole point of Obamacare was to cover that 30 percent. And we're just not even to do that.
MACCALLUM: But let me just pose one more larger question here before we ran out of time. In terms of, you know, how this is being paid for, does it bother any of you that it's basically moving money around rather than cutting spending, cutting government spending has not even been a topic this time around. And we're told that, oh, we'll get to that later.
LIMITONE: Well, Rocko Limitone, I'm a commercial sales and finance manager and a former small business owner and I'm with the Republican committee in the county. What I see and what a lot of people fail to overlook is, as this new tax plan -- hopefully comes to fruition, and people are paying less taxes, they're going to have more take-home pay. As the rest of the president's plan evolves and more business opens up here, there's going to be more tax revenue to the government.
That tax revenue, that increased tax revenue -- basic economics -- is going to reduce spending because we're going to have more tax revenue coming in. Now, during the Obama years, because there are so many people on government and the government dole, and all these special interest programs, fewer tax revenues is coming in. So, what did you have to do? So, you have the cut services, which the Democrats aren't going to do, so you have to raise people's taxed to the one percent -- and get them to pay for everything else.
LIMITONE: But see, this is a whole -- it's a whole, what I call is the whole pie approach. Rather just looking at one slice to the pie, he's taking the whole economy and say, well, if give people jobs and make jobs available -- let's put it that, but not yet. Make jobs available, boost the economy, there's going to be more revenue coming into the businesses, the business is the government. With that increased revenue, you're going to see spending decrease. It's more money.
MACCALLUM: We do have some pretty rosy forecasts for 2018. So, well if that happens. Thanks, you guys. So, there are a lot of families in America this year who are sitting at a table that has a missing person. We all watched with horror, the scenes in Los Angeles and Texas. What do we do about guns and your second amendment right? The next course of this debate is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If he didn't have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: In recent months, we have witnessed two of the worst mass shootings in our nation's history. One targeted a church in Texas, killing 26 people. The other, a country music festival in Las Vegas took 58 lives and injured more than 500 people who this Thanksgiving are still coping with how dramatically their lives have changed. The tragedy became quickly political. Here's Hillary Clinton shortly after.
"The crowd fled the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer which the NRA wants to make it easier to get," she wrote. And she went on to say, "Our grief isn't enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again." So, if Hillary Clinton were across the table from you this Thanksgiving and you were discussing this very hot issue, what would you want to say? And all the hands go up. Let me start with you back in the corner, sir.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Dr. Oscar III, Republican, and criminal justice professor. Of course, we start off with talking about the second amendment of the United States Constitution, which says you have the right to bear arms if you look at that. We would also look at legislation and also registration. We would also look at the data to see that some of the people who were shooters didn't have certain issues, so they were OK.
So, the next step, I would say is that, also, we to put in place certain active shooter plans because we need to have a bill and suspend this approach. So, we can't throw the baby out with a bucket so to speak. So, if we have an active shooter plan in place like they had in California, it worked out and law enforcement officials stated there that because of this, they saved so many lives. So, we can't catch everybody with everything, and we don't know whether the other person is good or bad, so to speak.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let me bring something up. Stephen Paddock, who was the Las Vegas shooter had amassed 33 guns and he had no prior record, so he was allowed to buy those. Should there be a limit on the number of firearms that someone is willing, is able to purchase? Courtney.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Absolutely. There is no need for 33 guns. And if you want them and that's fine, you can have them, but they should be staying in a secure location at your gun club, but they don't need to be in your home, and they certainly don't need to be accessible to you 24 hours a day. You can go to your gun club and you can get it. Your second amendment right does not trump my right to live freely, and to breathe, and to drop children of its school and go to a movie theater, and go to a concert.
MACCALLUM: All right. Hold on, because this is -- I mean, she brings up a very valid point. Where do we draw the line? You have a right to protect yourself under the second amendment, you have a right to own a gun, legally registered. In the other that we all know in Texas, that man should never have been able to buy legal weapons. And he was able to, so is 33 guns OK?
THERESA INAC, ATTORNEY AND SECOND AMENDMENT ADVOCATE: I'm Theresa Inac and I'm an Attorney and mom, and a Second Amendment Advocate in New Jersey. She mentioned that no one needs to have 33 guns, we're not talking about the needs, we're talking about the right. It's a right guaranteed by the Constitution. It's a right. And I would tell Hillary, the first thing I would tell her and everybody else calling for more gun control is: please give up your own armed guards, OK. If you're standing behind you are armed guards, you're telling the rest of us, everyday people, that we shouldn't have the right to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first thing that I would say to Hillary before she comments on anything else, I would say, you know what, Hillary, go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. That's what I would tell Hillary. And then, get educated about gun rights.
MACCALLUM: This gentleman over here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is (INAUDIBLE) with the Latino Action that works for the Democrat. I don't know why we're starting talking about Hillary Clinton when the president is Donald Trump and he's the person who've won. And Donald Trump and Republicans, they said, oh, we don't want to address this issue, we don't want to politicize it when obviously there's a need. There are people who have died and they should come up with a plan. For me, personally, I just want to hear him say something. They need to because people's lives are at stake. When there's a domestic attack, when there is a terrorist attack --
MACCALLUM: She was really the first prominent person to jump into the debate right after it happened. But I want to get back to this issue of, you know, the right to bear arms. Are there -- so, there are no limits whatsoever? Do you see absolutely no limit?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There need to be limits, but one of the things that -- one of the first things I this enacted is gun control. When we look at a city like Chicago, Chicago has the highest level of gun violence in the country. But the people ought to keep in amassing these firearms are people that are getting in here legally.
Now, granted, when we look at the situation with Mr. Paddock that happened in Las Vegas, he acquired those guns legally. But the problem that we have is we have disjointed legislation from state to state, and often times in a place like New York city, we -- I was private NYPD lieutenant, we dealt with something we refer to as the iron pipeline. You had people that purchase weapons to store purchases in states like Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, et cetera. These are illegally acquired firearms that are coming in. And when we look at the gun control -- hear me out, I'm almost finished.
MACCALLUM: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we think about the control, the first person -- the first point of focus, are the licensed, legally owned -- legal gun owners, and that's the problem. We need to target the people that are acquiring these illegally.
MACCALLUM: OK. I want to talk about -- I want to talk about Devin Patrick Kelly, OK? Who took the lives of 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, OK? He should never have been allowed to purchase any guns. He legally purchased guns into states: in California and in Texas. The Air Force did not do what they should've done which was to notify -- he had been court marshaled in time for almost killing his 2-year-old stepson and choking his wife. He should never have been able to legally purchase. So, there's something in the process that were doing, which is all put in place to try to protect people that is not working. So, what do we do about that?
LIMITONE: There are enough gun lords in place, and you hit it right on the head.
MACCALLUM: But in this case, didn't work.
LIMITONE: No, in this case, it did work, in this case, the Air Force did not report the situation and the arrest and all the problems and the dishonorable discharge, they didn't report those to the FBI.
MACCALLUM: No, he should never have been able to purchase to the gun.
LIMITONE: Correct. And that was a miscommunication between the armed services and the FBI. So, the laws are in effect: if the Air Force were to reported it to the FBI when that gentleman went for NICS check, he would have failed.
MACCALLUM: The NICS check didn't work, that's my point. Let's go back to you.
JENA ALLISON, LAW PROFESSOR AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's actually focusing on the wrong. I'm Jena Allison, a Christian University Professor of Law and also a Criminal Defense Attorney. And I think, well, we can talk about all of these great things. We're still politicizing this when we look at the government to try to institute restriction, and we have that competition with our right.
What we need to be focused on is the underlying worldview and understanding why are these people committing crimes? If we look at Europe, we look at even here Time Square with people who use weapons and weaponized vehicles and they run into people, where no regulation is going to stop someone who is motivated to kill. What we need to address fundamentally is the worldview perspective and as a Christian, I think that we need to be looking at where is the faith and understanding of the other people?
MACCALLUM: There's no doubt about that.
ALLISON: And so, if we politicize that too much, then we're not --
MACCALLUM: Let's hear from Paul May. Paul.
PAUL MAY, PRESIDENT, BOARD OF NEW YORKERS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE: I'm the president of the board of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. But before you just will start jumping on me, I'm also, like Rocko, I'm also member of my county's Republican committee. What Secretary Clinton was discussing was a mass shooting -- and it's terrible and it's awful and we all agree.
What we -- what she did not address was the fact that, every 15 minutes, somebody gets killed in a shooting. And unfortunately, the 58 people who were killed in Las Vegas was just the statistical, you know, dot compared to the people that were killed just that day. And I think what we need to do, and Darren referred earlier to the iron pipeline, it makes a lot of sense if you're in New York State.
Now, New York State has, what -- I think all of us would agree -- fairly strict gun laws, and we are the third lowest state in terms of guns death. And yet, there is no limit to the number of guns that a law-abiding citizen can buy a New York. And, yes, I do agree. The D.C. vs. Heller decision did give people -- did confirm the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But it also confirms the right of legislators and legislation that restricted reasonably.
MACCALLUM: Paul, we're going to give you the last word on that. We're going to take a quick break, and we're going to come back with another very volatile topic. Sexual harassment scandals seem to be everywhere, and they have taken down some of the biggest players in Hollywood, the media, and it is now spreading on Capitol Hill. What concerns you the most about what is going on here? That is next.
ELLISON BARBER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL REPORTER: Live from America's News headquarters, I'm Ellison Barber. There are reports tonight that President Trump's one-time National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors who are possibly negotiating a deal. The New York Times reports that lawyers for Flynn have told the president's legal team, they can no longer discuss the investigation of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Four people have told the Times that an agreement to share information about the investigation has been terminated.
Shoppers hitting the stores today, kicking off the holiday shopping season. The fight for market share is intense as Amazon is expanding its reach. Amazon may take half the sales growth this holiday season. They're projecting stronger sales for November and December, because of the lowest jump rate in seven years and stronger consumer confidence. I'm Ellison Barber. Now, back to "THE STORY."
MACCALLUM: From the halls of Capitol Hill to the hills of Hollywood, a tidal wave of sexual harassment stories have rocked America the past few months. Leaving some rightly banished for deeply offensive behavior and others, perhaps, wrongly accused in some cases, so where do you stand on what is going on right now in this country? It is really amazing that every single day we wake up, and another prominent person is splashed across the headlines with sexual harassment charges. Where do you think all of this is going and are you concerned about how -- you know, what concerns you about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more educated population is coming forward now, and I think that's where a lot of those allegations coming from. Whereas in the past, people weren't as educated as they were. In addition to that, you look at the empowerment of women in our society, which is really driving things forward. So, I think it's a necessary conversation that we need to have it, and we need to continuously sustain this, this interaction. Because if not, it just tapers off and falls off and we go back to where we were in the past.
MACCALLUM: Let's hear from someone. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think every woman on this panel can agree, there have been times in your life, throughout your professional life, where you've dealt with some form of inappropriate comments, behavior, what have you. But I think there's also a dangerous slope that was going on where, you know, calling out a witch hunt on every civil situation. There are civil dynamics, there are times when it's just innocent banter between two adults or innocent flirtations. There are things that happen.
I don't think we should absolutely, immediately, call everyone who is accused guilty because we presume innocence before -- you know, proven guilty. And we can hear out the victims. But in the case of Roy Moore, there's maybe some questions about, at least, one or two of the accusers. So, I think, we need to keep an open mind. But at the same time, I do see on the left, you have pictures of Al Franken grabbing, mock grabbing. Why isn't he being called out to resign?
MACCALLUM: OK. Go ahead.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a survivor of sexual assault, I have some very strong opinions on this issue. The fact that not every single person who has had something horrible happen to them, they don't need to come out and say what has happened to be taken seriously. For their accusations, whether it's been five months, 5 minutes, five years, or five decades, for women to be able to say this happened and this was wrong. I do not believe that we're allowed to have a, quote, unquote, slippery slope, when it comes to sexual assault to women throughout this country, and specifically, minors. I mean, I don't know how we've gotten to a place where minors who are able to be questioned. It's just preposterous to me that we're discrediting people from saying what's gone on. That perpetuate women not standing up and saying what's going because they're believed when they do.
MACCALLUM: Hold on.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I think this is about people in power abusing their power, and no one wants to talk about that. I think all of these allegations coming out is going to lead us in a good direction because now those people in power will think twice before they abuse their power because now women are speaking out, women are calling them out. We don't longer have to hide and wait. We can just go right to social media. And I know you said you're concerned about women wrongly accusing people.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you know, that might happen, but at least now, again, those that will abuse their power will think twice before doing that.
MACCALLUM: Let me ask you a question. There is now a story that has come out in the past few days that there is a fund on Capitol Hill that has been used for settlement money. Now that money comes from all of you, comes from me, and nobody knew about this fund or it certainly wasn't common knowledge.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Hollywood types to come out and finally say I only got into the business because I get chicks. I mean, I know that sounds crazy, it's probably wrong to say, my wife is going to kill me, but I think there's a lot of that. I think these guys have the power, they abuse the power, they want to be in that position, and now they're using our money to protect themselves from what they do. I have a daughter, it is absolutely horrendous. These people should be put in prison. There's no doubt about it. But the problem that we do have is that you are innocent until proven guilty. And if you empower people to much too say he's a molester, then it empowers people to come out and attack innocent people. I think the big change has been cell phones. Now there are pictures.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: People have pictures --
MACCALLUM: Let's go back in here from Ellie who we haven't heard from yet in the second rounder. Ellie, what is on your mind?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I'm Ellie. I'm a campaign manager for -- for Congress. I think these sexual allegations -- I think it's a strong time for women to come forward and have a voice for their voice to matter. Before it was like a woman's voice was only a fifth of a man's voice, but now these women are coming forward. I think it's brave. And I'm really happy to see that they're being taken seriously. At the same time, I think politicians who are calling for Al Franken to resign are hypocrites because they're not paying attention to Roy Moore. So it's like how can you look at one side and not look how the other side --
MACCALLUM: It's a great point because there is underlying this, right? Everyone wants people who have had this happened to them to be able to speak out. And certainly, the kind of man that Joe talked about need to be put in their place. But there are concerns that some of this is, you know, opposition research, right? Like all being politically polled in both directions. You can see them, sort of, flying at each other on a daily basis. In terms of the potential manipulation of that, is that something that we should be concerned about?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think this is a Democratic problem or a Republican problem.
MACCALLUM: No, it's clearly not.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's clearly an American problem. I don't think it's necessarily opposition research. And you know what, if it comes out because of opposition research then good because it needs to come out. Because if you're doing these things, you should not be elected to our congress, you should not be elected to our senate, you should not be representing us because I think everybody on this panel can agree, that doesn't represent us.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Some of it can be opposition research. But let me tell you, no woman should have to compromise her values and compromise herself to get position, to get a job, or to get ahead in life. It is wrong that any man or a woman in power takes over another person like that. It's wrong and it shouldn't happen. And I like the fact that a lot of these stuff is coming to light. Over 20 years ago, I discussed these stuff about Bill Clinton, and everybody poo-poo it. Oh, it's just between him and his wife. It's a marital position. It has nothing to do with anyone else. We're now, finally, finally women are starting to get a voice.
Finally, people starting to take notice in Hollywood, and say you know what? These sleazebag that are abusing women all these years and now they're finally going to pay. The Weinstein's and the etcetera. They're finally going to pay for the things they've been doing because of their power, and that is wrong. That is wrong in every way. Now, like you've said, there is a possibility that it can be opposition research, there is a possibility that some women now will come out and say, oh, yeah, he abused me 30 years ago, he abused me 20 years ago, and it may not be true. So we do have to keep it in mind that you are innocent until proven guilty. But like someone else said, when you have pictures, Al Franken, you have pictures, the proof is there already.
MACCALLUM: All right. We've got to leave it there. Great discussion and great point. Thank you very much. So coming back, President Trump has made his feelings known when it comes to the issues of the NFL. He would like players to stand and respect the flag. He also did not want college basketball players to think that shoplifting is no big deal. So as the president speaks out about patriotism and about accountability. What does that say about the future of the NFL, about the future of our country? That's next.
MACCALLUM: OK. So Thanksgiving, right? Turkey, football, all those good things. But this year, some fans are calling for a boycott of the NFL. The league has seen its unfavorability rise dramatically in recent years, more than double in just the last four years alone. So this season has been marked by the fierce debate over sideline protests. A recent Fox News poll finds the majority believe that kneeling during the anthem is inappropriate. Herschel Walker weighed in on this recently saying that everyone, he believes, should stand for the anthem. Despite all that, GQ Magazine has determined that the man who started all of this, Colin Kaepernick, is their citizen of the year. So what do you think? Is Colin Kaepernick the citizen of the year? Do you agree? You agree, go ahead.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Colin Kaepernick has really taken a great loss to bring forth an issue of importance that's happening in America right now. I think we have some serious social and economic divide between classes and between race, and he brought it to the forefront and kneel to pray. And they're kneeling in protest. You don't get to skip over the first amendment and go straight to the second amendment. You've got to love them all.
MACCALLUM: Who disagrees? Who thinks Colin Kaepernick is not citizen of the year? Go ahead.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, absolutely, racism is an issue. We need to bring these conversations. We have to consider the forum. And the NFL absolutely has the right to tell their players what uniform they can be in, where they can be, what they need to do, whether they need to stand or not. That's something that's part of their employment contract. And so, when we're talking about the contacts of the first amendments, that's the government.
MACCALLUM: Let Natasha speak.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, to your point, standing for the anthem is not part of the employment contract. If it was we wouldn't be at this issue. The reality of it is that these are public figures, all the players are, and Colin Kaepernick, who is not the first athlete, by the way, it was the WNBA, I think it was the Mystics that started taking a stance about this in their -- during their team playing offense. But the bigger picture is that, you know, is things that we've circumvented, or it's been circumvented, his protest. He was protesting social injustice, and police brutality, or police involve in unarmed shooting. And we've gotten so far away from that conversation that now we're talking about should we be standing or kneeling for the anthem.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a former NYPD lieutenant and I'm a former Army officer. And I understand that we do have a series of social injustice that's playing out in our society. However, there's a time and a place for it. If that's your issue, address it with your legislator, not on the field. When I watch a football game -- you hear me out, we'll get to you in one second. When I'm watching a football game, I want to watch the game. I'm not interested in a protest. I think that in many instances these players are disrespecting the flag, the troops, and our American way.
MACCALLUM: Go ahead.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you brought up that these players are disrespecting the troops. Colin Kaepernick used to sit at first and then he changed it, and decided to take a knee because he wanted to show respect for the military.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold on. But let me just say this because prior to Colin Kaepernick, you didn't see all of these other players taking a knee. We saw that happened after the president had something to say about. So are these players in the NFL taking a knee for why Colin Kaepernick is taking a knee to protest against racial injustice, or are they just trying to get back at the president?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: But can we get to the point of the issue that he was supposed to be protesting, racial injustice and saying police brutality against blacks. More Caucasians are killed every year by cops than black Americans. That's an actual statistical fact. The bottom line is when you're on that field you are part of the team. You are there to play football. If you want to say something about social injustice or any other thing, you have your first amendment rights off the field.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Well, one of the great things about this -- I'm Dr. Ashcroft, is that this is America. We get a chance to express our opinions. Other countries, we wouldn't get a chance to have this sort of debate. Historical data, when you speak about the national anthem at games didn't happen until the 1900, because it never was played at any of the sporting games and they thought it was a great idea, so they started playing this. So it wasn't something that was embedded that had to be there. The good thing about this country is that you get a chance to express your opinions even though it may not be the appropriate forum, but because you express those opinions, people are now listening and now we have a conversation. So therefore, through a process or due process, we get a chance now, at least, to come to the table and sit down and discuss these issues to talk about what's going on.
MACCALLUM: All right. One more very quickly.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: And I can say that real quickly is that -- one of the things -- right. And people are entitled to do whatever they want to do. I'm a veteran myself, and also retired law enforcement. So the thing is we may argue about the forum or the time, whatever, but this country allows us to come in and express our opinions.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I'm Ryan. I'm not a football fan. I honestly don't care about any of these people, these multi-millionaires expressing themselves. They have a right to. I just think that at a time in our country, so many important things are happening and this is a gigantic waste of time. This is not changing us. If you want to change, you change from the person within, and you do it on the outside. President Trump should focus on his own stuff. The media should be focusing on was going on in the administration and I think that is a much more important story. This week alone, Kirstjen Nielson, the new DHS nominee from President Trump, sat there and told us she doesn't believe in his immigration agenda. No one talked about it because they're talking about things that are less important to each and every one of our lives.
MACCALLUM: All right. We've got to leave it there. We'll take a quick break, we'll come right back and give you a chance for a final say. And has been said that divided we fall, and we're pretty divided right now. We've been through worse thought, and many believe that our best days are ahead. I choose to believe that, right? Do you agree with that? What unites us and what we're thankful for on The Story, next.
MACCALLUM: So it certainly feels sometimes like our nation is more divided that it's ever been. A recent poll shows the vast majority of voters believe that compared to ten years ago, the bonds that hold us together are weakening. So that got us thinking about the things that we're thankful for this year as a nation, and our panel is back. So what divides us, what unites us, what are your deepest concerns? Let me go back here. Go ahead.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree actually that politics do divide us, and that we've really come as a country and to really separating often to our two corners and completely ignoring that middle part. I mean, even when the government shutdown happened, it happened because two people just held their sides and they refused to figure out where they could actually come together and make concession to keep the country moving forward. So we do have to actually have these conversations. And if anything, I'm incredibly thankful that I come from a place where the value is to see where you can find these common grounds as people. Even if we can't completely agree on how it gets done. We can certainly agree that people have the right to get a fair dollar for a fair day of work, that they deserve to have an education, that they deserve to be able to be healthy, that they deserve to have the next generation a little bit better off than the one previously before.
MACCALLUM: What about President Trump in terms of his role in this?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of his role dividing the country?
MACCALLUM: Dividing, uniting, whatever you think.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Over the past ten years -- let's say over the eight years, this country was divided by the great divider, President Obama. He made more divisions in this country than any other president. Now President Trump is coming in on the tail end of that. And like the young lady said over there, and Dr. Portia said it, politics is dividing us in a way that it has never divided us before. There was I time when I was a kid, people really never talked about who you vote for. Don't worry about, it's my vote.
MACCALLUM: And even to the point where people live in neighborhoods now that are -- that seems to be segregated by soft pattern.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, I'm really thankful to be an American. I'm grateful to God that we live in a country where we can have these spirited debates and still be all together as an American family. And at the same time, I want to also say I'm very thankful and grateful that we have President Trump in the White House.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not going to clap to that.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can have these spirited debates, but no one listens. We all just want to be heard, so nothing is accomplished. I think if we really took a timeout to listen to one another, treat each other with respect, respect each other as human beings, and actually love each other we'll realize that --
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait let me finish. We have more in common than not. Where is the love in the world?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I think it boils down to your family. When you talk to anybody, no matter what side of the political specter you're on, if you start talking about their family, they love their family. And I think if we all kind of focus on that, what we can do to make our families better -- my kid are going home from college today. It's awesome. But everyone here would love that, and that's the thing that we do have in common and we need to keep our families together. We have a lot of things that attacks our families, whether it's drugs, or alcohol, or sexual attacks, but our job I think is to make our family stronger. And that's the one thing we all have in common.
MACCALLUM: Hopefully that's happening on this Thanksgiving Day, right, as well get together. Go ahead.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- you know, I agree with you that it starts with family. One of the things I find is that, especially with the media, you hear things like -- things that are -- there's a lot of divide us as a country, and you expect that someone that -- for example, I've been in conversations with a Republican, Latino Democrat, with white Republicans, that when you're sitting down on a table and you're actually talking to each other, you don't see any of that divisiveness you see on Fox News or CNN, you start looking for those commonality and start listening to each other. So to America on Thanksgiving, I will tell you, try to have those conversations on one of those folks and see where you can find that common ground because we are all living here in this country trying to make it a better place.
MACCALLUM: And it's a pretty good place, right? All right. Well, one last thought.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I hear people say the media this, the media that. But the truth of the matter is, the media who brings it to our living room. I don't have the ability to see what happens in Arizona -- hear me out, Rocco, I'll give you your shot. I can't see what's happening in Arizona or California unless I watch what's happening -- what's playing in the media. So I think the media that assists us as a population. But it goes back to what I said initially, politics has been the spike that have been separating us as a country and, unfortunately, it's not getting any better. And take into consideration, Donald Trump residence, I think he's done a lot of good things, but I think there are a lot of things he may want to take a step back on because he can be a tremendous unifier, but he just really needs to come to the table.
MACCALLUM: Will be right back with some final thoughts on The Story. Stay with us.
MACCALLUM: That's going to do it for us tonight. Our special thanks to our panel, great to have all of you with us. I'm Martha MacCallum. And for all of us here at The Story, we wish you and yours a happy, peaceful, wonderful. We hope dinner was great. Coming up next on Fox, OBJECTified. Martha Stewart is next.
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